There were many good messages that took place at the Shepherds’ Conference, but one message that I think will be of interest to you is perhaps Phil Johnson’s message. His message centered mainly on Acts 20:28 and other verses within the chapter. His main points were: pay attention to yourselves, the sheep, and the wolves. But before he got into those three points, here were some of the interesting and important points he made in his introduction:
- Some see themselves as futurists rather than pastors. They prefer a future than suits their needs rather than the needs for the church as seen in Scripture.
- Some call themselves CEOs rather than pastors.
- People replace the biblical language with business models because sheep herding is far from their mind. Some believe in a business-driven corporation rather than a biblical-driven church.
- Peter Drucker who does not believe in inerrancy and who also is a pragmatist, was Rick Warren’s mentor. He influenced Rick Warren and other Christians to adapt the corporate mentality. Drucker had a business model that had become the conventional wisdom. Pastors who were influenced by Drucker’s business-driven corporation implemented the business marketing methodology. To these pastors, the shepherding imagery is obsolete.
- Shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians and today shepherds are an abomination to the CEO or business-driven church.
- Pastors who are into a business-driven church is a pastor that is concerned with being hip and concerned with fulfilling their vision rather than fulfilling the duties of what the biblical role of a pastor is.
In Acts 20:28ff, Paul tells leaders at Miletus their duties as shepherds. Miletus was a business-driven area. Paul does not tell them to implement the corporate methodologies or to focus heavily on the social injustices of the world, but Paul has his eyes set heavily on them paying attention to themselves, the sheep, and the wolves (Acts 20:28, “ Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood”).
Here are a couple of variables a shepherd should take note of concerning themselves:
- Do not be selfish. Jesus was never selfish (John 10:11). He did not care about his life, but he cared about others. He came to this world to glorify the will of the Father (John 12:28)
Pay attention to the sheep:
- CEO driven pastor leads by mandates and orders, while shepherds lead by example and are servant-minded.
- CEO driven pastors lord it over people, while shepherds do not because they are servants (Matt. 20:24-28).
- CEO driven pastors demand people to pursue their vision rather than the Bible’s vision.
Pay attention to the wolves:
- Some invite wolves to their conferences to dialogue with them. That is not how to guard the flock. You can’t persuade a wolf to be a vegetarian by inviting them to a place with meat. There must be another medium to do that if one wants to dialogue with a wolf. He must not do it at the expense of the sheep’s health.
- Being on guard may not be the most important thing to do today, but it is a duty nonetheless. For more information on this years conference, please see: Shepherds’ Conference